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Jun 09, 2019

Modi arrives today

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Sri Lanka today for a whistle-stop visit after his recent re-election as India’s Premier. Releasing a statement prior to his visit the Prime Minister said his visit to Sri Lanka was to express solidarity with the Government and the people of Sri Lanka in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the island on April 21, Easter Sunday.

The visit is seen as a gesture by India to stand with Sri Lanka in a time of crisis.

Officials hoped the PM Modi’s visit, which will last only a few hours, will build confidence in Sri Lanka and help to kick start tourism especially with India.

“His visit will focus international attention on Sri Lanka giving the message to the world that the country is getting back to normal, and that’s when the economy and tourism which has taken a dip will pick up,” sources familiar with the visit said. The Prime Minister had chosen the Maldives and Sri Lanka for his first overseas visit after winning a second term in office. When he arrives today, the Indian Prime Minister will be the first foreign leader to visit the island since the attacks on churches and hotels which killed over 250 people as Christians in the country celebrated Easter Sunday.

“India stands with Sri Lanka in the fight against terrorism. Our bilateral relations have gained momentum in the past few years. I had the pleasure of meeting President Sirisena during his recent visit to India Officials hoped the PM Modi’s visit, which will last only a few hours, will build confidence in Sri Lanka and help to kick start tourism especially with India.

“His visit will focus international attention on Sri Lanka giving the message to the world that the country is getting back to normal, and that’s when the economy and tourism which has taken a dip will pick up,” sources familiar with the visit said. The Prime Minister had chosen the Maldives and Sri Lanka for his first overseas visit after winning a second term in office. When he arrives today, the Indian Prime Minister will be the first foreign leader to visit the island since the attacks on churches and hotels which killed over 250 people as Christians in the country celebrated Easter Sunday.

“India stands with Sri Lanka in the fight against terrorism. Our bilateral relations have gained momentum in the past few years. I had the pleasure of meeting President Sirisena during his recent visit to India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new government. I look forward to meeting the Sri Lankan leadership during my visit,” PM Modi said ahead of his visit to Colombo.

Modi said his visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka would strengthen the close ties with the maritime neighbours, in line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood-First Policy’ and the vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region.

Modi is expected to meet President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan, Cabinet Ministers, as well as Indian expats living in Sri Lanka.

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by sundayobserver.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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